Advertising

The Things We Do For Love.

Holidays have always been a reason for marketing teams to mashup branding or advertising elements in an attempt to capitalize on a specific holiday’s panache or excitement. More often than not the success of these campaigns tends to fall short. Usually the campaign is a half-baked idea, or an afterthought with the results being poorly executed and delivered, resulting in nothing more than a mention in one of the advertising trade publications or blogs.

This year there were three campaigns that I ran across for Valentine’s day that range from bad (Pepsi) to possibly good (KFC) – depending on the long-term execution of the latter. So, let’s take a look at these and see what cupid brought us in 2020 for Valentine’s Day marketing mashups.

I’ll start with the bad. Pepsi somehow thought it would be a good idea to create an engagement ring to promote Crystal Pepsi. A ring made from something like cubic zirconia housed in a cheap cardboard box emblazoned with the Pepsi logo. Why? Because nothing says “I Love You” like a cheap ring in a logo box.

The engagement ring features a lab-grown, clear-cola-containing 1.5-carat diamond set into a platinum band (this might actually have value if you melt it down). Real Crystal Pepsi was broken down into elemental carbon and then added into the artificial growing process to create this exceptional stone. (color, cut and clarity are outstanding I’m sure) The resulting bling sits inside a white ring box featuring the retro-chic Crystal Pepsi logo.

The ring is only available through a social media contest where entrants share their proposal plans using the requisite mentions and hashtags on Twitter. One lucky proposer will win the one-of-kind Pepsi engagement ring, freeing up a year’s worth of someone’s salary to buy a replacement ring with an actual diamond in it.

Pepsi worked with creative agency VaynerMedia to create the Pepsi Proposal campaign, which runs until March 6th, with the winner announced March 16th.

Another outstanding mashup is the Heinz Ketchup chocolate box. Yes you read that right chocolate truffles filled with tasty, tasty ketchup. Why? Because nothing says “I Love You” like nausea inducing confections packaged in a heart shaped box.

Heinz UK partnered with confectionary wizards Fortnum & Mason for Valentine’s Day creating a red and cyan box with gold foil, which actually looks really nice and matches the Fortnum & Mason brand quite well. From a packaging standpoint I really like this. I question the novelty of the execution though. In my opinion this will be read as a joke, and while it might appeal to some, most are simply going to say “gross” and forget about it. I’m not sure how this will elevate the Heinz or Fortnum & Mason brands long term.  

This isn’t the first time Heinz has tried to ruin the magic of a romantic Valentine’s Day Last year they released ketchup caviar, a move in what now seems like the first attempt to forever tarnish this holiday and, likely, your marriage. (Someone at Heinz apparently isn’t loved)

Now for the one that might actually work. KFC Crocs. Yes, the shoe everyone loves to hate has been done up to look like a bucket of the colonel’s finest. This one might actually work. The love connection is a bit obtuse, with KFC joining forces with avant-garde artist Me Love Me A lot (MLMA), who often showcases her eccentric and provocative art on Instagram, where she has over 1.2 million followers.

MLMA introduced a platform version of the shoe where the sole becomes the chicken bucket and the toe is adorned with a little drumette at New York Fashion Week in order to generate buzz and give KFC a platform to announce that a more subdued version of the shoe will actually go on sale next month which means this might have some staying power.

I actually like this because while there is novelty to the campaign, there is an actual practical use for the shoe, and some people are going to be all in on the fact that their ugly crocs are a bucket of chicken. Time will tell through sales though and I predict that these will end up being a collector’s item featured on American Pickers in 10 years.

No Branding Required.

There aren’t many brands that can get away with removing all brand identity from their advertising. McDonalds is one of them that can. The product is so ubiquitous that the purveyor of fast food can not only remove the golden arches, they don’t even have to show product.

McDonald’s has created a series of outdoor ads in recent years that have boldly expressed just how deeply the fast-food brand is embedded in our collective consciousness. McDonalds Canada created a series of outdoor ads that used cropped sections of the golden arches as a wayfinding mechanism. McDonalds France used a series of rain-streaked cityscapes to promote their delivery service. Although minimal in design, there is no doubt that this is McDonald’s. The latest from Leo Burnett UK, not so much.

This new series of posters from Leo Burnett for McDonald’s UK has taken renowned typographer David Schwen’s type sandwiches and created, well, type sandwiches.

There is no mention of McDonald’s anywhere on these yet you know exactly what they are from the ingredients listed. That is definitely a Big Mac and a Filet o Fish. This could be applied to the majority of the McDonald’s sandwich line with a similar effect.

“McDonald’s is a leader, only a handful of global brands can communicate like this. The redacted and graphic nature of this latest campaign exudes the confidence McDonald’s and its iconic products deserve.”

Pete Heyes, Creative Director at Leo Burnett.

It’s a pretty bold move and one that not many brands could pull off. A global brand like McDonald’s can get away with, and does with great effect.

Art or Ads?

Since 2010, Bombay Sapphire has partnered with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation to showcase artwork from multicultural artists through its Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition.

To encourage votes for 2019’s competition, BBDO New York created a Google Chrome extension called Artifier’ that replaces banner ads with works of art. Viewers who see a piece of artwork that catches their eye can click on that painting to vote for the artist behind the piece of work. Voting ended on Nov. 7, but the extension is still available.

I really like what Bombay has done here. it’s a nice workaround if you don’t have an ad-blocker running in your browser. It promotes the artist competition, shows Bombay’s commitment to the arts, and it gets rid of all the targeted advertising that gets rammed down your throat with every browsing session. This is a subtle way to promote the Bombay brand without using heavy-handed advertising tactics. Plus my guess is that Bombay knows after most people install the extension, they won’t turn it off so it will continue to promote the Bombay brand all year. Clever.

Miller Lite The Original Social Media

During the height of the internet boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s one of my favorite TV commercials was the Miller Lite spot “Evil Beaver” produced by Traktor. Like so many ads at that time the commercial was completely insane and unlike any beer commercial being run at the time. The thing is though, it did its job. It was fun, memorable, associated the product with the brand and got people talking. And it was part of a larger campaign that tied everything together with a single tagline “Art Directed by Dick”. All of the Miller Lite spots were well-produced, clever, and really thought out, but “Evil Beaver is the one that stuck with me. (probably because it’s so off the wall)

FAst forward to 2019/2020 and Miller lite has scored another home run as far as I’m concerned. Working with DDB Chicago. they are playing into the current zeitgeist of people pulling away from social media and the backlash of fake followers, likes, and the overwhelming need for continuous engagement in these spaces.

Building on its campaign positioning of Miller Time as the ‘original social media,’ Miller Lite is bringing a limited number of its dark-coloured Offline Cans to bars across the country to inspire more drinkers to take a break from social media and spend time with friends over a beer. The limited-edition matte black cans will be available in more than 500 bars and taverns in 27 states starting this week. Miller Lite’s Offline Can will be supported by two new TV ads, social media (ironically) and a point-of-sale marketing campaign that aims to inspire drinkers to invite friends for a night out over Miller Lite.

In select bars where the cans are available, Miller Lite will reward some drinkers for going offline with their own Miller Lite Offline Can, where permitted and while supplies last. Using Facebook’s new ‘SideFlix’ technology, bar-goers can invite their friends to join them in putting down their phones and ‘going offline’. If the group collectively puts their phones down for 30 minutes, they could be eligible to receive a Miller Lite Offline Can. SideFlix is a digital experience using Facebook Instant Games and Facebook Messenger that offers friends the opportunity to share in a connected experience across their devices when they’re together in real life (IRL).

Both DDB and Miller Lite saw the potential to leverage this technology to encourage and reward ‘device-down’ connection when friends spend time together over beers. Miller Lite is one of the first brands globally to utilize Facebook’s SideFlix and this is a first-of-its-kind experience for Molson Coors Beverage Company. Created by DDB Chicago, Miller Lite’s new 15-second spots, meanwhile, focus on missed connections — people staring at their phones instead of interacting with friends. Like the first ‘It’s Miller Time’ spot, ‘Followers’ that began airing in fall, the new ads finish with the tagline: ‘Here’s to the original social media.’

Sometimes You Have To Toot Your Own Horn A Little.

I have been maintaining this blog site for more than 10 years now, and it has also been a place to showcase my portfolio and resume for freelance and contract opportunities. For the last 5 of the 10 ten years, I’ve been posting to Modular 4, I’ve been saying to myself I really need to create a separate site that is exclusively focused on the work I’ve been doing and remove the portfolio and resume form here. Unfortunately, life just always got in the way. I’d think about it, procrastinate, fiddle around with a new site layout, get caught up in something else, forget about it, try to come back to it and never actually get anything done.

Well, guess what? I finally got off my butt and got something done. The new site for Wade Johnston Graphic Design features projects that I have worked on over the last 10 plus years, and services offered. It took me long enough, but the site is finally live. So I’m tooting my own horn and saying I’m open for business. That’s a bit of a lie though, I’ve been open and doing design business for the last 30 years. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to new opportunities though, so if you need design and advertising help give me a shout. I’ll be updating the new site regularly with new featured projects and projects that showcase specific skills, so if you are interested check back every so often. I’m also in the process of connecting the new SquareSpace site to my social media accounts so new pages and posts should start populating publically soon.

I’ll continue to post here but within the next few weeks, the menu items for my portfolio and resume will be removed. This website will continue to be what it has been for the last decade, a place where I can sound off about whatever I want, however, I want. If you have been one of the people that have read my posts here over the last 10 years, thanks. I really appreciate it.

If you hop over to the new site, I hope you like what you see.

The Time Shop for Chick-Fil-A

I’m probably going to be the odd man out here, but I’m not a fan of Chick-Fil-A. Not for politically correct reasons. I simply don’t like their fast food. Now, with that said it doesn’t mean the don’t have some great advertising. Marie Hyon, of Psyop has pulled out all the stops in her latest work for the chicken chain crafting “The Time Shop” which extends the message of “Together Time” that McCann put together for Chick-Fil-A this holiday season.

This is such a great example of excellent copy/script writing, high production value animation, and a well thought out concept being brought to fruition for the holiday season. The video below is the full two minute online version of the piece. I haven’t seen the 60, 30, and 15 edits. It’ll be interesting to see how they maintain the storyline through the broadcast versions, especially the 15 second cut.

Director: Marie Hyon
Executive Producer: Justin Booth-Clibborn
Senior Producer: Suzie Cimato
Assistant Producer: Simone Miller
Designer: Victorior Wanchana Intrasombat, Pedro Lavin, Samantha Ballardini, Felipe Hansen, Robin Joseph, Andrew Serkin, Dionisius Bangun, Marie Hyon
Storyboard Artist: Ben Chan
Lead Technical Director: Briana Franceschini
Previz Artist: Pat Porter, Nick Dubois, Doug Litos,
Modeler: Eric Cunha, David Soto,Anne Yang, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Brian Kim, Chris Santoianni, Pedro Conti, Kevin Ferrara, Ryan Kirkwood, Casey Reuter, Krista Albert
Additional Modeling: Aldrich Torres, Nitesh Nagda, Leonstudio, Basilic Fly
Look Dev/Lighter: Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Matthias Bauerle, Eric Cunha, Brian Kim, Thao Dan Nguyen Phan, Anne Yang, Kwan Au, Susie Hong
Lead Animator: Pat Porter
3D Animator: Nick Dubois, Doug Litos
Lead Rigger: Zed Bennett
Rigger: Ohad Bracha, Daishi Takishima
Groom FX: Eric Cunha, Ieva Callender, Briana Franceschini, Chris Santoianni
VFX: Eban Byrne
Cloth/Hair Sim: Jordan Harvey, Scott Hubbard, Daishi Takishima
2D Lead: Matthias Bauerle
Compositor: Aaron Baker, Matthias Bauerle, Herculano Fernandes, Manu Gaulot, Lane Jolly, Tingting Li, Carl Mok
Compositor Assistant: Keigo Tanaka
Matte Painter: Felipe Hansen, Pedro Lavin, Marie Hyon
Editor: Loren Christiansen

A Little Christmas Rapping and Home Shaming from IKEA

According to Stash, this is IKEA’s first Christmas TV spot. Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. I swear I’ve seen holiday-themed ads for IKEA in the past. Maybe this is the first one for IKEA UK.

The spot was put together by the UK VFX powerhouse Electric Theatre Collective. A cast of toys and tchotchkes come to life revealing the hard truth about a family’s home with a bit of rapping and “home shaming”.

Mother has put together something with rock-solid production value that was directed by Tim Kuntz. The 3D animation and live-action footage work really well together and that rabbit cookie jar absolutely creeps me out.

The original track was overseen by Dave Bass and Arnold Hattingh at “Wake the Town”, and the rap was voiced by the legendary MC D Double E.

It’s a fun piece that clocks in at a minute thirty so it’ll be interesting to see how they do the 15/30 edits for broadcast.

Agency: Mother

Production: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Producer: Emma Butterworth
Production Manager: Daniel Gay
Production Designer: Chris Oddy

VFX/post: Electric Theatre Collective
VXF Producer: Magda Krimitsou
VXF Coordinator: Larisa Covaciu
VXF Creative Director: James Sindle
2D Lead: James Belch
3D Lead: Patrick Krafft
2D Artists: Chris Fraser, Tomer Epsthein
3D Artists: Jordan Dunstall, Ryan Maddox, Mark Bailey, Remy Herisse, Edwin Leeds, Gregory Martin, Nikolai Maderthoner, Will Preston, Stefan Brown, Adrian Lan Sun Luk, Piers Limberg, Zach Pindolia, Olivia Grimmer, Romain Thirion, Richard Fry
Colorist: Luke Morrison